Poor Hygiene: Bad Habits You Should Avoid
Hygiene involves taking care of your body and mind by following a series of day-to-day cleanliness activities. But what happens if we don’t do it? Poor hygiene, whether intentional or situational (where you might be unable to cater to yourself), can have enormous short and long-term health implications. You can fall sick yourself, as well as spread germs to others.
Let us find out what exactly constitutes poor hygiene.
1. Not brushing your teeth
Brushing is not only needed for pearly white teeth, but also to ensure they remain bacteria-free. Irregular brushing or flossing leaves behind leftover food particles in the mouth and helps bacteria multiply. It manifests itself in inflamed and bleeding gums and cavities. In the long run, this infection passes on to the nerves, leading to loss of teeth. Research also suggests a link between poor oral hygiene and lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and heart attack.
2. Not taking a shower
The sole purpose of taking a bath is not only to smell fresh and look clean, but also to drive away disease-causing agents that thrive on sweat, oils, and dead skin cells. Not bathing regularly can cause inflammation, irritation, and itches, along with acne, rashes, and even potentially fatal diseases such as herpes. Prolonged delay or absence of showers can lead to poor hygiene; it can also cause a condition called dermatitis neglecta, where a brown patch of plaque appears on the skin leading to infections.
Not removing make-up can lead to the growth of bacteria on your face that can move into eyelids, causing stys, inflammation of follicles, and other skin conditions. Not washing your face regularly can also cause clogged pores, leading to blackheads, pimples, and uneven skin tones caused by an overgrowth of skin cells.
3. Not washing your hair
Neglecting hair wash is way more damaging than washing too frequently. The oils secreted on the scalp make hair smelly and greasy. As time passes, bacteria begin to grow and clog the hair follicles. This in turn causes skin infections, lice, yeast infection, and dandruff.
4. Not doing your laundry
Laundry can seem like a chore, but unwashed clothes and bedsheets harbor bacteria, fungi, and mites.
Similarly, using unclean undergarments can cause acne, rashes, urinary tract infections, yeast infections, and candidiasis. These infections may travel up to the kidneys and reproductive organs leading to kidney infections and problems with fertility.
5. Sharing personal items
Sharing is not always caring, especially when it comes to personal items such as razors, toothbrushes, and combs. These can transmit infectious diseases from one person to the other. Sharing a toothbrush may compromise oral hygiene, while razors may spread highly virulent viruses such as hepatitis and HIV. Combs can transfer lice and dandruff.
6. Walking barefoot
Walking barefoot, especially in public washrooms, is extremely unhygienic. It may lead to infections that are tough to treat such as ringworm, athlete’s foot, and nail fungus. The causative agents grow on the hair, sweat, and urine on the floor, and walking barefoot is the easiest way to contract these diseases.
7. Not washing water bottles
Hydration is vital, but what is even more important is drinking water from clean water bottles. Studies have shown that E. coli, which are involved in food poisoning, can be present in reusable plastic bottles. The chemicals released from the materials of these bottles are also capable of causing endometriosis, PCOS, and even, cancer.
8. Inadequate menstrual hygiene
Poor menstrual hygiene can cause life-threatening infections. Tampons and sanitary pads, when left for long, may lead to the development of rashes, vaginal yeasts, and certain types of urinary tract infections. In severe cases, it causes toxic shock syndrome, which begins with symptoms such as fever, vomiting, headache, and diarrhea. In the absence of timely treatment, it can cause kidney failure and even death.
9. Overusing contact lenses
Ophthalmologists suggest that overwearing of contact lenses leads to an increased risk of eye infections, which causes corneal ulcers. These are open sores on the cornea that cause redness, blurry vision, pain, discharge, and dry eye. Thus, contact lenses must be regularly cleaned with lens solution before and after use.
10. Not washing fruits and veggies
Fruits and vegetables, whether obtained from the market or growing in your terrace garden, may contain bacteria that cause food poisoning. So, washing them before use is mandatory. Cleaning fruits and veggies properly with water also helps rid them of residual pesticides, ingestion of which may cause diarrhea, insomnia, alteration of heart and breathing rate, convulsions, and in worst cases, even death.
Since you now know the implications of poor hygiene, it is imperative that you avoid these unhealthy practices. Pursue clean habits consistently till they become a part of your daily routine. It will help you and those around you lead a healthy, disease-free, and happy life.
1. Holland K. Creating a Personal Hygiene Routine: Tips and Benefits. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/personal-hygiene (accessed Feb 16, 2021).